Post offices are being forced to close by an "urban" Government which does not understand the countryside, a Midland MP has claimed.
Owen Paterson (Con North Shropshire) said villages risked losing vital services as post offices went out of business.
The crisis was a result of changes to the way benefits are paid, he said.
Many claimants, including pensioners, once collected payments from their local post office, but the money is now paid directly into bank accounts.
As a result, post offices lost customers as well as losing the fee they received for administering benefits, said Mr Paterson.
Trade and Industry Minister Barry Gardiner said the Government was providing £150 million a year to help rural post offices - but warned that some would have to close.
Speaking in a House of Commons debate, Mr Paterson said: "The current problem is very much of the Govern-ment's making, and is partly because they are an urban Government.
"I do not think that there is a single rural Member in the DTI team - they are all urban Ministers."
He added: "We cannot keep stumbling on. We have ripped out the £400 million of benefits, and that presents a huge threat unless we obtain other viable activity.
"There is a real social benefit in keeping that focus of activity in the village, because the post office is not just about postal activities and other products that are sold; it becomes a focus for information.
"There is a village notice board for advertising jobs and so on. There is a real social dimension to the post office in an area such as mine, where large numbers of elderly people live on their own."
Mr Gardiner said: "The Government want to see a post office network that can prosper, but on the basis of today's needs and those of the future, not those of 20 or 30 years ago. In doing so we also must face present reality.
"Major sectors of the network are losing substantial amounts of money. The rural network is making losses of about £150 million a year and the directly managed Crown offices are losing in the region of £70 million a year."